Terence Crawford and The Search for the Right Opponent

Marilyn Paulino/RBRBoxing

In sports, timing is everything. Timing can make the difference between a star and a superstar.

Terence “Bud” Crawford (36-0, 27 KOs) is one of the best fighters in the world and has all the tools inside the ring to transcend the sport of boxing.

Crawford is currently on a seven-fight knockout streak having made three defenses of his WBO Welterweight title.

The Omaha, Nebraska native, is a three-division champion having held titles at Lightweight, Super Lightweight and Welterweight.

At Super Lightweight, Crawford became the only boxer to have unified all the major titles in the division, making him just the second boxer to unify all the titles in a division after Bernard Hopkins.

Crawford is 14-0 with 11 knockouts in world title fights, holding dominant victories over the likes of Ricky Burns, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Ray Beltran, Viktor Postol, Julius Indongo, Jeff Horn and Amir Khan.

The bout with Gamboa was a game-changer for Crawford as he was able to stop the most high-profile opponent of his career in an exciting fight in front of his hometown fans.

Against the former Olympic gold medalist, he was able to show that he not only had the skills to be considered one of the best in the world, but also a bonafide draw in Nebraska.

While the bout with Gamboa certainly put more eyes on Crawford, it didn’t translate to him becoming a significant figure in the pay per view (PPV) market.

Crawford’s two headlining PPV events against Viktor Postol in 2016 and Amir Khan in 2019 together sold roughly 175,000 total buys.

No matter how famous or well-known a boxer may be, it can’t be understated how important it is to have the right dance partner.

Even fighters who finally get the chance to step in the ring with that dance partner often fall victim to unfortunate scoring by the judges.

When all-time great Pernell Whitaker finally stepped in the ring against Julio Cesar Chavez in September 1993, he had to settle for a controversial draw.

More recently, Middleweight champion, Gennadiy Golovkin was handed a controversial draw against Canelo Alvarez in September 2017 in a match that a vast majority had him winning.

At the very least, Whitaker and Golovkin were given the opportunity to face a fighter that transcended the sport or at least garnered them a larger audience to showcase their skillset.

Crawford, as of yet, has not faced a fighter with anywhere near the name recognition of a Julio Cesar Chavez or Canelo Alvarez.

One of the most significant bouts that can be made in all of boxing is a fight between Crawford and unified WBC and IBF Welterweight champion, Errol Spence Jr.

Crawford-Spence would crown an undisputed No. 1 Welterweight, and the winner would likely be ranked as the best in the world.

A fight and victory over Spence would likely give Crawford the fame and adulation that his skill set deserves.

With Spence’s car crash late last year and the barriers that exist politically through each fighter’s promoters, there’s no telling when the two pugilists will meet in the ring.

A fight between Crawford and current WBA Welterweight champion, Manny Pacquiao, never came to fruition when both men were promoted by Top Rank.

While Pacquiao is clearly on the last run of his career, he has proven to still be a top fighter, considering his most recent performance against the then-undefeated, Keith Thurman.

However, there is an elephant in the room. A giant-sized elephant that keeps on growing.

This month the Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has virtually shut down the entertainment industry with states like New York and California under complete lockdown following stay-at-home orders.

Many initiatives have been taken to limit the number of people that gather in one area leading to many fights not only being postponed, but also cancelled altogether.

The timing could not have been worse for a fighter like Crawford, who at 32 years of age is in his prime.

As of now, there is no telling when the boxing world will get back on its feet, having a standard rate of fights taking place. With venues needing to be re-booked and the promotion of the fights being delayed, there is no time frame for the sweet science’s return.

Unfortunately, for Crawford, just like most of the sports world, 2020 may be a lost year.

As we head into unknown territory with the Coronavirus and how it will impact the sports world in the future, patience will be crucial for those that step in the ring and those who cheer them on.

Crawford has everything he needs and more to become a superstar, however, sometimes it’s just as important to be in the right place at the right time.

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